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Beijing suburb Songzhuang draws artists from overseas

China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-24 07:18

Beijing suburb Songzhuang draws artists from overseas

Sridhar Ramasami starts his artistic career in Songzhuang in Beijing's suburbs.[Photo/Xinhua]

American artist Sridhar Ramasami has it all: A wife, a child and a gallery of his own in Songzhuang, a small town on the outskirts of Beijing.

The 50-year-old first came to Songzhuang as a backpacker six years ago.

"I had just come from visiting Shandong, Gansu and Jiangxi provinces, but the artistic atmosphere in Songzhuang was by far the best," he recalls. "This is a paradise for artists - free, dynamic and inclusive."

Ten years ago, he was living a successful - albeit stressful - life in Miami. He was an engineer and earned a high salary.

"That was not the kind of life I wanted. I wanted to be a painter and do something more creative," he says.

"Songzhuang is unique. There are so many artists, all from around the world. We have so many galleries and stores - all just within walking distance - as well as a great community of volunteers."

Ramasami combines art and technology in his paintings. "I was an engineer, so I like to use materials, such as plastic and resin, and I use 3-D printing."

He married a local woman in early 2016, and their daughter was born in January.

"I've taken root in China. I am a Songzhuang local now."

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